Being an entrepreneur is the cool thing to do today, but just like anything else worth having in life, it comes with a high failure rate. After ten years as an entrepreneur with plenty of failures that made me feel like a wantrepreneur, I had to come to a brutal realization. If you can come to this same place without failing for ten years like me, you will be ahead of the curve.
I was watching this video one day, and the guy mentioned how from age 20 - 30, Bill Gates did not take even one day off. He was focused on his grind and learning everything he could about the industry so he could build Microsoft. Bill Gates was going through what was called his "Dark Years."
I did a bit more research, and I noticed a trend pretty quickly. There are a lot of entrepreneurs that go through these Dark Years. Take a guy like Gary Vee as an example. He spent most of his early years just grinding on his wine business. He was not all out in the public eye because he was building his worth a damn factor by making more money and proving that he can get it done. I could list off a bunch of entrepreneurs that followed this formula.
The Spotlight Entrepreneur
Now it is more fun and easier than ever to talk about what we are going to do; it is more fun to be on social media and put the spotlight all over ourselves for no reason. We have not earned this; we have not done anything to make ourselves worthy of the type of attention we want. My views on this have changed a lot in recent years, and it will make sense a bit later on why.
I used to tell people that anyone can inspire, anyone can lead, but you have to want to do it. You did not need to accomplish anything first, but I quickly saw the danger in this. I am guilty of this misstep myself. I started to see a lot of entrepreneurs who would start a business or sell products teaching others how to be successful, and they would hope that product would make them successful. I quickly jumped on board.
I started a business all about success. The idea was I would teach entrepreneurs how to succeed and bounce back from failure. How could I do this when I had yet to figure out the formula to success myself? I was just praying that people would give me money and I could say I was a success because of that business. I was not willing to go through the pain of dark years.
I quickly shut down that business because I knew where my fault was. I started working again, and I began to focus on what I had a degree in, and that is marketing. I have spent a lot of years working on my marketing craft and have been able to make some decent money because of it. The difference here is that I have worth a damn factor when it comes to marketing. I have started a business, helped other companies, had things go viral and worked in this field, and because of this, I began to get a lot of freelance marketing jobs.
It was at this point I learned about Bill Gates and the dark years, and I worked on changing everything.
The Dark Years
If you want to get ready to be an entrepreneur, you don't need to spend time talking or promoting on social media at first. What you need to do is go MIA and spend time learning more. The reason a lot of people fail is that we become actors. We lose touch with reality because we are trying to portray an image. We need to focus and double down on our learning.
Jim Rohn has a quote that says, "We can get more than we have because we can become more than we are."
The part too many people miss is the part about becoming more than we are. That requires diving into books, watching educational YouTube videos, going back to school, taking online courses, finding mentors and listening to podcasts. The dark years are about becoming hungry as ever. The dark years are about developing the inner lion in you that is just waiting for the chance to roar.
The problem with just talking about what you want to do is the fact that it builds up your ego and it makes you feel all warm and gushy inside when people show you love. As humans, we naturally crave this. The dark years are about denying yourself this joy. The dark years are about forcing you to get to that point by actually becoming successful. Doing that in today's world is NOT easy. We live in a social media superstar actor world.
Without The Dark Years
The easiest way to get lost in life is by assuming you already know enough to reach the next level. Entrepreneurship is a skill! There are things you need to learn and master to get what you want.
Some people think they will do everything themselves, but that does not work. You can only go so far alone. Others think they will just hire people but to be a great manager you need leadership skills. To hire people, you also need to know a little bit about the work that they do, or else how would you manage them?
People think a business-like Facebook become a billion-dollar enterprise because they had an excellent idea. It is not true! Companies like Facebook become great because they know how to grow and execute.
I am still in my dark years right now personally and when I come out, and I am going to have a full story and analysis on everything I have done and why. I will tell you that it is not fun. Without social media, I feel less significant than I have ever felt in my life. I don't know what is going on, and I hate not being able to talk about what I am doing. But I feel a power building up in me, and I have learned just how much I don't know.
Since 2017 has begun, I have bought and read about 72 books which are easily the most books I have ever read in a year. It reminded me of just how ignorant I am.
I wrote this strictly for you. It's not about me; it's not about my name because I have not done jack. What I do know is that the more you learn, the more you earn, but very few people focus on that learning part.
Stay tuned for part 2